Because of the organic boom, specifically in the last few years, many mega corporations have moved to acquire smaller companies that promise organic products. After all, if “organic” is the buzz word that millions of people are buying into, it’s only natural that these guys want their share of the profit pie too. Dozens of supposedly organic companies fall under the umbrella of these mega corporations. Here are a few examples, see if you recognize any of them:
Organic Sells Out to Mega Corporations
You know organic is better, or at least it should be, right?
The more we learn about how chemically laden most of our food and everyday products are, the more we’re driven to shop and choose organic. For people who have some background or have even done research on organic products, we know the major differences between organic food and products and those that aren’t.
However, what if I were to tell you over 80% of organic companies are actually owned by mega corporations. Wouldn’t that piece of news shock you? It might, especially if you thought you were supporting independent organic companies with your purchasing dollars. What could that mean for us consumers and our choice to eat and buy organic?
What does organic really mean?
Organic products are said to be produced using methods that do not involve synthetic inputs. These can be anything from pesticides to chemical fertilizers, which we know are incredibly harmful. Not only that, anything organic is supposed to contain no GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Also, organic items aren’t processed using irradiation (exposure to radiation), industrial solvents and chemical food additives. Despite the higher price range, these dangerous additives are the very reason we choose to buy organic- to stay away from the harmful chemicals and consume only the freshest, healthiest, and overall best foods available.
The Truth About Many Organic Companies – Who Owns Who?
Some more examples:
- The Honest Tea Company is actually owned by Coca-Cola.
- Tom’s of Maine, a line of organic toiletries is actually under the Colgate company.
- Burt’s Bees, another company known for organic bath and beauty products were once independent, but today, they’re part of the Clorox Company.
- Aveeno is another organic and all natural skincare brand, but they belong to Johnson and Johnson
- Proctor and Gamble has just gained ownership of New Chapter, a brand that sells natural nutritional supplements.
- The Body Shop, another skincare and beauty line is actually owned by L’Oreal
- Lastly, Aveda and Origins fall under the Estee Lauder giant.
Not only are these mega giant companies eating up smaller organic companies, but some brands have been busy coming up with organic versions of their own companies. One example is Dove Organic, Dove’s organic line developed specifically for Wal-Mart.
What Do These Acquisitions Mean for Us Consumers?
The acquisitions of companies happen all the time, so you may be thinking, why should organic companies be excluded? A better question worth asking is, what does all of this buying up of organic companies mean to us? How will it affect consumers that wish to buy organic.
This organic buyout may result in organic products being more readily available for the masses. Not too long ago, only a certain part of the population had the luxury to enjoy organic products from a certain company, due to it’s small and limited operations, today it’s a totally different story. With organic options being widely available, anyone in the country who wishes to begin an organic lifestyle can do so.
For starters, small businesses trying to sell their own organic items may be faced with so much competition that they end up closing shop. If not that, these mini corporations may be in danger of being bought out, something many independent organic processors have been resisting time and again.
The most important effect is the quality of our organic food and products. How are we to know for sure that these mega companies, who carelessly put in GMOs, chemicals and additives into most of their products will not do the same for their organic line?
These mega companies claim that their organic lines are environmentally safe and health conscious, but if they can be so careless and lenient about chemicals and additives, then who is making sure that they’re keeping to their promise?
Lastly, those that buy organic with the intent of supporting these smaller companies may be in for a disappointment, only to find out that the money they’re spending isn’t supporting an independent company, but actually going to mega companies!
Want to support REAL organic companies and businesses?
Here’s a few tips:
- Buy Local. Look for organic food products from local sources such as your farmer’s market. Steer clear from buying fruits, vegetables and produce from chain grocery stores.
- Start your search locally. Look for organic sellers in weekend fairs and markets, and be sure to ask them the right questions about their product.
- Check online. There are many independent organic companies who have taken to the internet to promote their businesses. Go online to find them, so you don’t have to resort to buying products from these mega companies if you don’t want to.
- Try Beyond Organic. Jordan Rubin, author of the Maker’s Diet and founder of Garden of Life has started a company that ships organic food from the farm right to your front door. Products included are cultured dairy, raw cheese, grass-fed beef, dried steak, cultured whey, dark chocolate, anti-oxidant infused waters. Find a retailer near you or you can email [email protected] if you’re interested in purchasing Beyond Organic foods.
The Buyout Debate
Because of the pros and cons that have come with these organic company buyouts, consumers are split between thinking whether these buyouts are a good or bad thing. What’s your personal take on the matter?
Does the fact that these mega companies own these smaller organic companies make a difference to you? Will you still continue to buy organic?